It all started innocently enough. Three twenty something musicians from the south join forces in a unique blend of voices and musicianship to create a unique blend of soulful country/pop. The only problem for the band is what to call themselves. In the past, a band of equal talents like Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley would have simply choses their last names in some form of list (“Scott, Haywood, & Kelley” or “Kelley, Scott & Haywood” or some cutesy name but they came up with “Lady Antebellum” as they were all from the south and those first photos they had came in front of an Antebellum era plantation.
To Lady A, it was a simple name based on the overall southern gothic mansions and such but in light of the 2020 riots after the horrific death of George Floyd, Lady A realized that their name didn’t just define “occurring or existing before a particular war,” but, really the American Civil War time period and thus, slavery, and as a trio of white folks, no matter innocent their band name choice was, they weren’t ready to continue with it as their moniker.
See the trio’s full statement below:
As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.
After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word ‘antebellum’ from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start.
When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern “antebellum” style home where we took our first photos. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…Southern Rock, Blues, R&B, Gospel and of course Country. But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts’ intention, but it doesn’t change the fact that indeed, it did just that. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.
We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step. There are countless more that need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning—to grow into better humans, better neighbors. Our next outward step will be a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID. Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love, empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children & generations to come.